Yes, god help us.
Ferrari is “considering” adding a roomy four-seat “utility vehicle” as part of a major expansion beyond its traditional supercar niche to double profit by 2022, according to some inside scuttlebutt making the rounds.
The final five-year plan under CEO Sergio Marchionne, who is set to retire in 2021, will target boosting annual deliveries beyond a self-imposed limit of 10,000 cars, which allows the company to operate with less-stringent fuel-economy rules, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private.
Among projects being evaluated is a four-seat family car that offers more space than Ferrari’s current two-door GTC4Lusso.
The model is internally dubbed the “Ferrari utility vehicle,” following Marchionne’s previous objections to developing a crossover or SUV. The big Ferrari would be targeted at Asian customers, particularly in China, and may alone contribute 2,000 vehicles to annual deliveries, the people said.
Ferrari is studying ways to ensure its sporty style with the new vehicle, which the manufacturer will try to market as a new industry segment rather than as another high-end crossover or SUV, following the likes of Maserati, Bentley and Lamborghini.
Under the new business plan, which is set to be unveiled in early 2018 and could expose the carmaker to stricter environmental regulations, Ferrari will also build more hybrid models to improve fuel efficiency and woo new wealthy buyers, the people said.
Since taking charge of Ferrari, Marchionne has been pushing volume, already blowing past an earlier cap of 7,000 vehicles. While that approach risks diluting the brand’s exclusive cachet, the 65-year-old CEO flanked growth with exclusive limited-edition models, such as the $2.1 million LaFerrari Aperta convertible.
Ferrari’s current target is to boost vehicle sales to 9,000 cars in 2019 from 8,014 in 2016. Analysts at Mediobanca, UBS Group and Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. predict deliveries could jump to as high as 15,000 under a new strategy, which Marchionne hinted he was developing during a first-quarter earnings presentation in May.
The plan poses a risk as raising annual deliveries to more than 10,000 vehicles a year would push Ferrari beyond its “small vehicle manufacturer” status, which protects it from some U.S. and European fuel-efficiency and emissions rules.